A Simple Cup of Coffee Fights Obesity and Diabetes

Scientists at the University of Nottingham have conducted the first human study to show that a cup of coffee can have a direct effect on our brown fat functions.

A simple cup of coffee may be the key to combating obesity and diabetes, according to new research published in Scientific Reports. It happens that this substance would convert white fat -or yellow, due to excessive storage of calories- into brown fat, also known as good fat and that helps the body convert nutrients into energy and generate heat.

While medical experts associate white fat with obesity and metabolic disorders such as diabetes, brown or brown fat can help people stay slim and maintain a healthy body weight. Before this study, several scientists have suggested that encouraging the body to turn white fat into brown could be a successful way to combat obesity, thanks to caloric or white fat burning.

Brown fat metabolizes food into energy by activating the so-called decoupling protein 1 (UCP1), which exists in the mitochondria of brown adipose tissue. In relation to the utility of coffee previous studies have linked caffeine consumption with weight loss and increased energy expenditure. However, scientists had not yet studied the link between coffee and the activation of UCP1, so a team of researchers from the University Of Nottingham, United Kingdom, went to work.

For this Michael Symonds and his team conducted in vitro experiments in vivo to see the effect of caffeine on the generation of brown fat heat or thermo genesis. First, they exposed to adipocytes - cells that store fat - that were derived from stem cells. They noted that exposure to caffeine raised UCP1 levels and increased the metabolism of cells. These effects "were associated with structural changes of brown color" in mitochondria and lipid droplets.

Second, the researchers wanted to validate these findings in humans. Using a thermal imaging technique, they located the reserves of brown fat in the body and evaluated their heat generation capabilities. "From a previous work we knew that brown fat is mainly found in the neck region, so we could see someone immediately after drinking a drink to see if the brown fat was heating up," Symonds explained.

The researchers compared the effects of drinking a cup of coffee with those of drinking water and found that coffee stimulated the temperature of the supraclavicular region, which corresponds to the area where brown fat accumulates in humans, and that "is indicative of thermogenesis.”

"The results were positive, and now we must determine if caffeine, as one of the ingredients in coffee, acts as a stimulus or if there is another component that helps activate brown fat. We are currently considering caffeine supplements to check if the effect is similar ", says the person in charge, since it could be used as part of a weight control regimen or as part of a glucose regulation program to help prevent diabetes”.

"Increased activity improves control of blood sugar and blood lipid levels, and the extra calories help you lose weight. However, until now, no one has found an acceptable way to stimulate their activity in humans, "explains Symonds to Medical News Today.